Can you tell me a little bit about you?
I studied Painting at the University of Brighton and after I graduated in 2015 I built a house in an old removal lorry with my boyfriend, George Lloyd-Jones (also a painter) and we set off for Europe. We exhibited a bit in Barcelona and stayed in Spain for a couple of years. We ended up in Granada where we rented an old farm and set up an affordable residency for early career artists with an emphasis on affordability and community. We came back to the UK just over a year ago and now I am based in Cornwall.
When did you first discover art, or realize you wanted to make it yourself?
My mum is a painter and my dad a sculptor and I’m the oldest of 4 siblings, we’re all in the arts including my 10 year old sister, who writes novels on an old typewriter! I am from a town called Stroud which has a really strong community of creative people and events spaces. My boyfriend and his family are all artists too, his dad taught us art at school. Art has just always been a huge part of my life I never considered doing anything else.
What do you like most about working where you do?
I spent a few years on the road working from my very small home, and then after the residency in Spain I worked in an old pig barn which was cold and damp and dusty so I love having a proper space now, it’s amazing how productive it’s been. I prefer working with other people around than on my own, I’ve always shared a studio with my boyfriend and I love having someone there who knows my work and offers up such constructive and thoughtful critique whenever I’m in need. I only hope that’s his experience of sharing with me too!
What ideas are you exploring in your practice?
I am thinking a lot about when you are sitting close to someone and you don’t know each other that well and you’re really aware of making them feel uncomfortable if you accidentally touch legs or nudge them with an elbow. It’s very stereotypically English to be awkward about physical intimacy. I paint people who are at ease in each other’s presence, I’d like people to take that from my paintings and put it into the world.
What is your process like?
Often my paintings come out quite quickly but there is a load of work that goes on beforehand. Every painting has a specific memory or feeling behind it, I’ll start by drawing a body in my sketchbook and then make another one connect to it, and then keep reworking and adding bodies until I’m happy with the composition. I like the bodies to take up all the space they need and to be interacting with one another. I choose a limited colour palette that suits the feelings between the figures, and it prevents me from overworking and making the picture too heavy.
Is there any subject or theme you’ve been particularly interested in lately?
I think about romantic friendship and the human touch.
Aesthetically, I have been enjoying looking at pictures of old TFL fabric designs for the colours. I never thought I’d like purple and orange and brown together but I do love them very much now.
Do you have a day job or other work that you split your time between?
No! Living in the way I do has its challenges but it takes a lot of the financial pressure off because I don’t have all the usual bills. Being an artist full time means a sporadic income.
Do you have a mentor, or a piece of advice (or both), which has influenced your practice?
I’ve been given a lot of unsolicited advice about whether or when I should have children whilst my boyfriend never gets that kind of input. I do get so much helpful guidance from my mum, she’s probably proofread a million emails on my behalf and gets a lot of texts that are just a photograph of a half painted painting with the caption: help?
Is there any piece of advice you would offer to others?
talk to artists that you admire and ask them about their experiences.
What does it mean to you to have a “community?”
Oh, so much! Everything is better in a community.
What is your studio like?
Messy and very colourful! We have lots of plants in here and my two canine companions are always playing or sleeping on the sofa.
Do you have any routines or rituals in the studio that get you into the mode or mindset to make your work?
I’ve always been most productive in the mornings but recently I’ve had a few deadlines so I’ve been working later and during weekends. I work best when I walk into the studio nice and early and if i’ve cleaned my brushes and prepped everything the evening before I’m onto a winner of a day.
How significant has attending art school been on your practice?
It was really good in many ways but I did and still do wonder how much importance should be given to arts degrees. Having said that I am currently applying to the Turps Banana correspondence course because I’m at a point where I feel I need some extra guidance and I’ll be applying for a Masters next
What do you find most daunting, challenging, or frustrating about pursuing art?
I know how lucky I’ve been to grow up in a family of artists, I’m very supported in what I do. I’m still consistently frustrated with the inequality of the art world. If I struggle with it then what must it be like for people who walk through the world with less advantages than me. I was encouraged by a recent visit to London where I saw the Guts gallery show facilitating BAME, female, working-class, queer and struggling artists.
How would you define “success” in art?
The ability to keep doing it in a way that challenges you and engages your curiosity.
What is the most exciting thing you’ve done or accomplished so far, related to your work?
I recently had a solo exhibition at That Art Gallery, it was called ‘Easy Peelers’ and it was really the start of a body of work that is so much truer to myself than the work I was making before so I am really proud and excited to keep going.
Are you involved in any collaborative or self-organized projects?
I set up Los artistas del cortijo in Granada with my boyfriend a couple of years ago as a sort of pop up residency and one day I’d love to do something similar in the UK. I’m also collaborating with designer Nina Redman at the moment which is really cool because she knows a lot about sourcing ethical materials and sustainable design processes.
What are you working on right now?
I’m about to start some big paintings for a group show this summer.